Friday, April 10, 2015

A Time to Grieve

December 30, 1295

My fingers twisted nervously in the folds of my apron. I stood outside the study, listening closely to the soft murmur of Faustino’s voice. He always spoke to himself when pouring over the accounts. It was one of the things Mathlida found so endearing of him. Mathlida…..

No matter how I tried, I just couldn’t find the tears. How could I tell him when I was just so blank, so….empty?

Everything was such a blur in my mind. It happened so fast. We all joked that Mathlida would sneeze and the baby would pop out. We hadn’t even had time to summon the men, only to send a pitiful messenger. Once it was all done, I fled as fast as I could go on my shaky legs.  I fled, like a coward.  I still smelled the blood. Fuck, I could taste it.

Because I fled, I tasked myself with telling Faustino. Which was arguably worse than being in the blood room, but that was my punishment.

I knocked on the door.

“Enter,” he called.

I slid in and shut the door behind me. I stood there awkwardly before Faustino looked up at me, a broad smile on his face. It was just like him to be toiling over the accounts at such a time. I stared blankly ahead, hardly believing what I was about to say.

He put his quill down on the desk and frowned. “Maddie, what is it?”

Mathlida’s dead. She’s dead. I licked my lips and cleared my throat. But the words wouldn’t come.

The chair scraping on the floor made me cringe. Still I stared at the wall. I heard his boots slowly make their way towards me and still I stared at the wall ahead. Finally, he blocked my view and grabbed me by the shoulders. I winced and recoiled, but he held fast.

“The baby?”

I shook my head. “A boy. He’s….fine.”

Faustino let his arms drop to his sides. I stepped back, preparing for the slap I surely deserved. Instead he too backed away, moaning. I simply watched him, as if he were in a puppet show and I the audience. Only I had less reaction than the audience. Poor Mathlida, and poor Faustino They deserved so much better. They deserved emotion, sadness and grief. Instead all they got was an empty, voidless pit of nothing.

“No. No. No. No.” Faustino panted.

I shrank away. “I’m so sorry, I--”


Faustino tore at his hair. The look on his face was maniacal so unlike the grave mein he usually wore. A guttural moan escaped from his throat and he advanced forward. I stumbled over my feet as I backed away.

I jumped when he kicked a nearby chair into the wall. He threw things into the fire, shoved papers from the desk, kicked over baskets. And there I was, frozen to the floor, while Faustino tore apart the room. I couldn’t even stop him.

Finally he collapsed on the floor. His face crumpled and he sobbed.

He reached out for me. “Mathlida….”

I whirled around and yanked the door open. Once again, I was too much a coward to stay. Too much a coward to comfort him. Up the stairs I went, past the blood room, past my bedroom and up the other flight of stairs. Thus I found myself in the nursery. I collapsed in a chair panting and gasping. Just cry and be done with it.. But I couldn’t. The tears wouldn’t come. There was just nothing. I felt nothing over Mathlida’s death anymore. I felt an awful, terrible nothing.

In one of the cradles Isa was grunting and snorting. I could see her swaddled legs pumping up and down. I pushed myself up and walked over to the cradle to check on her. She had kicked off her blankets and was squirming in her swaddling, like a little larvae. Poor thing was probably freezing, so I picked her up and held her to my chest. Brennan would never know his mothers arms. Neither would Isa. At that moment, I wished Burga had died and not Mathlida. It was a blasphemous, horrible thought, but I was hurting.

It made me so angry. There was Burga, perfectly healthy, perfectly fine and yet she banished her daughter to the nursery. She never saw Isa, never talked about her. I was the only one now who would be there to cuddle and comfort her, to let her know she was loved. Well, there was Felipe of course, but mostly he tended to Burga.

Isa pecked at my neck, rooting for milk. I sighed and gave her my finger.

“I don’t have any milk for you, lovey. Not yet, but Nursie will be here soon,” I promised. “She’s off feeding your….feeding your friend Brennan.”

I kissed the top of her head and hummed. It was just so much easier to not think. To not think about the feelings I couldn’t have.

I turned when the door opened behind me. Alfonso slipped in.

“Vanna sent me to look for you. What happened?”

I couldn’t face him, so I busied myself with cuddling and bouncing Isa. She whined, and I patted her tummy. She never even cried, only whimpered. Almost like she knew crying would do her no good. I wish I had known earlier. My poor Isa. I stroked her face.

Alfonso placed a hand on my shoulder and I jumped.

“Maddie….what happened? Vanna didn’t tell….”

“Mathlida is dead,” I said dully.

Alfonso said nothing and I pulled away from him. I couldn’t let him see the nothing I felt.

I spoke to the wall over Alfonso’s shoulder. “I told Faustino….It was...awful. I...couldn’t...You should go to him. He needs you.”

Alfonso shook his head. “You need me.”

“I’m fine. I feel fine. I promise. Go to him.”

“If you’re so fine, why won’t you look at me?”

I half-assed lifted one shoulder. I was too ashamed. Here he was fraught with pain over a woman he knew for a year. And where was I? Here, feeling nothing for the woman that had been like--no who had been my mother.

Alfonso pulled me down on the couch and took my hand. I slid it out of his, looking away from his inquisitive gaze. But he said nothing to me.We sat in an awkward silence. When the nursery door opened we both jumped. The wetnurse swept into the room with little baby Brennan.

“Alfonso, take Br--the baby. Here, feed her, she’s hungry and has been rooting all evening.”

I handed Isa over to the wetnurse and watched her settle near the fire to feed her. At least Isa would be taken care of. I turned back to Alfonso and motioned him over to the light. I held Brennan up for inspection.

Alfonso tilted his head to the side. “He looks good.”

I nodded. “He’s so big. So much bigger than Isa.”

He stroked the baby’s head. “All that red, red hair.”

“Yeah...he looks a little like Mathlida’s eldest son, Edwin. You remember him?”

“Not really….but I think he looks like Faustino.”

I pinched one of the baby’s cheeks. “He’s so chunky.”

Brennan merely grunted and shifted himself in Alfonso’s arms.

Alfonso looked up at me. “Maddie, I am so sorry about Mathlida….”

I nodded and swiped my sleeve over my face. “She was my second mother….She was more my mother than… mother.”

“Nursies usually are,” he said wryly. “I got shitfaced when mine died.”

I smiled slightly, kissing Brennan’s fat fat cheeks.“I heard you got shitfaced on all occasions before we married.”

It felt good to be teasing Alfonso again, almost normal. Would we ever get back to where we were a year ago?

“You’ve been speaking to Faustino.”

I stroked the baby's chin absentmindedly. He stared up at us with all of the gravity of Faustino.

“So serious,” I teased softly and cupped his head with my hand. Carefully I avoided Alfonso’s gaze and kissed the crown of Brennan’s head.

Alfonso sighed, “I didn’t expect to have three kids in our second year of marriage. Maybe one and a half….”

I looked up at him. “Neither did I, but….they need us.”

Alfonso pressed his lips in a thin, grim line. “No, they need their parents. But we’ll have to do.”
In the quiet I heard Isa sucking furiously. Poor baby. Poor babies….

He fixated his intense gaze on me. “I have been a fool, Maddie.”


“I don’t want to lose you. And I almost have...several times in the last year. And then I stopped speaking with you…”


“I don’t even know,” he said miserably.

I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know what I could say to him.

He pressed his forehead to mine. “Without life...isn’t worth living….I don’t want to live a life where you’re not….”

“Me either,” I whispered.

After placing the Brennan in the cradle next to Isa’s, he slid his arms around me. “Don’t die.”

“Not in my plan,” I murmured into his ear..

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Time for Isabella

September 25, 1295

Sounds of men’s laughter filled my ears as I descended the stairs. Vanna was not far behind with the snuggly baby in her arms.

Silence filled the hall when I pushed the door open and peered in. Felipe sat nervously in the middle of the table, staring down at his cup, while Alfonso, Faustino and Diogo were in the middle of a game of dice. Felipe’s eyes widened and he jumped up abruptly as he looked at my bloody apron. Oops. Even Alfonso looked alarmed, and he raised his eyebrows in question. I avoided his gaze and turned my attentions back to Felipe.

“She’s fine!” I reassured him, patting his elbow. I waved Vanna in quickly.

“It’s a girl,” Vanna said following me into the hall.

Faustino slapped Felipe on the back, while Diogo and Alfonso shouted congratulations to him. But he was far too preoccupied with the little dark haired beauty in Vanna’s arms. Alfonso looked at me and smiled, but I quickly looked away towards the baby.

“A girl?” Felipe whispered in awe.

“Yes. A healthy baby girl. A little early, but Mathlida and I didn’t see need to baptise her.”

Vanna gently laid the girl into his arms. He awkwardly held her in the crook of his arm.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “You won’t drop her.”

I decided not to mention that I had nearly dropped her, which is why Vanna presented her to him instead of myself.

Felipe merely smiled at the baby. He bounced her gently, instinctively, completely captivated by her.

“What are you going to name her?” I asked.

Felipe looked over at Alfonso. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to name her Isabella.”

Vanna raised an eyebrow. “Why would he care if you named her Isabella?”

I smiled and stroked the baby’s head, waiting for the inevitable argument to come. And of course I was not disappointed.

Diogo sighed. “Isabella is his Alfonso’s mothers name.”

Vanna rolled her eyes. “Yes, because I am supposed to know that.”

Diogo opened his mouth to say something, but I glared at him over Felipe’s shoulder. He glared back, but said nothing. I also glanced side-eyed at Vanna whose face was red over the stupid argument. I elbowed her, but she said nothing.

Alfonso grinned. “A fine name. If you don’t mind two Isabella’s running around here.”

My cheeks flushed and I shot him a dirty look. Luckily, Felipe was too busy with Isabella to notice. Alfonso strode around the table in that smooth, effortless manner of his. He stopped at my side and looked down at the baby.

“Is she supposed to be that color?”

“What?” Felipe gasped and put the baby close to his chest.

“Really?” Vanna asked. “Really? She’s fine. Go bother someone else with your jokes.”

Alfonso grinned at me, not put off. 

His arm snaked around my waist. I stiffened, but he didn’t notice.

“She’s the perfect color, Felipe. Ignore him.” Faustino said.

Vanna shook her head. “After you, I declare, no more babies for at least a year, or I’ll kill you. This is getting ridiculous. Three babies in the nursery at once.”

Why was everyone so insistent on talking about this? I pulled myself from Alfonso’s grip.

He grinned and pinched my hip. “Maybe four, someone here is getting a little fat.”

“You’re just looking to get punched, aren’t you Alfonso?” Faustino asked.

Vanna and Diogo shared a laugh, but stopped abruptly. There was no love lost between the two of them.

“You’re a shit,” I said and pushed him off. He simply laughed at me and turned back to the baby.

I played with my ring, sliding it up and down, twisting it side to side. I still felt uncomfortable with him even though it had been a few months since he started speaking to me again. He still hadn’t apologized and we hadn’t spoken about the jewels yet. I was so afraid to rock the boat, so I veered between tiptoeing around the subject or ignoring it all together..

“...and a pony...and as many pretty dresses as you want….” Felipe was murmuring to the baby.

“And a handsome prince...and gold….” Diogo said in a high falsetto.

Felipe glared.

“Boys, enough,” Vanna said.

Diogo grumbled. “Yeah well, if he’s going to act like an idiot….”

Vanna stomped her foot. “Of course he’s going to act a fool. She belongs to him, and he’s free to be foolish over her. One day you’ll thank Papa for being silly, won’t you, Isa?”

Felipe smiled indulgently. “She’ll be my little precious….”

Suddenly, I felt so tired. I dragged myself over to the bench and flopped down with a heavy sigh. Alfonso followed and sat next to me. He slung his arm around my shoulders. I leaned away slightly, but he only leaned in closer to me and nuzzled my neck.

“I hope it’s a girl,” he whispered softly sending chills running down my body. He started stroking my hair. “Give me a pretty little girl who looks like you.”

I smiled weakly at him. “Not a boy?”

“He can come second. I want a girl.”

He kissed my temple and pulled me into his lap. 

“I love you, Maudrun.” He whispered in my ear.

I merely smiled at him. I couldn’t say it back. At least, not yet.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Time for Lecturing

June 9, 1295

Vanna came at him like an angry bee. He took a step back as she flew in his face.

“How could you?” She shrieked.

He sighed. He knew what this was about, but he’d humor her anyway and let her have her temper tantrum. “How could I what, Vanna?”

“That poor girl is pregnant!”

He nodded slowly. “Yes, she is. Though I believe she would take offense to being called a girl. She’s old enough to be your grandmother.”

“Exactly! Exactly! She is too old to be having babies! Look at her! Stuck in bed!”

“Well, according to both Maddie and Burga this is the norm for her when she’s with child. She should be fine in a few weeks.”

Vanna spluttered. “It’s not right! How could you do this to me?”

“I did not hold her down or force her. Nor were we thinking about you.” He shifted, quite uncomfortable talking about his sex life with Vanna.

Vanna threw her hands in the air. “Of course! We’d better hope we can afford a midwife for a month or more!”

He veered into another topic. “You plan to stay?”

“Yes, I plan to stay! I didn’t realize leaving was an option.”

“You’re not our prisoner. You’re free to leave at anytime.”

She crossed her arms over her chest. “It hasn’t felt like it!”

“I’m sorry you feel that way, but as I said….”

“I couldn’t leave anyway,” she mumbled. “I have the girls to care for.”

He raised an eyebrow. “The girls?”

“You know, Burga and Mathlida and Maddie.”


“Yes, Maddie. Haven’t any of you seen? She’s working her ass off trying to keep this place running. If she keeps going the way she’s going, we won’t have a Maddie anymore.”

Faustino was embarrassed not to have noticed Maddie’s plight. He liked to think of himself as a sensitive man, anticipating the needs of others before his own.

“And!” Vanna jabbed her finger in his face. “SOMEONE needs to have a nice little chat with Alfonso. After I finished yelling at Mathlida, she told me your friend, Alfonso, still hasn’t said two words to her. She needs him. He needs to step up and be a man. She needs her husband. She needs a damn hug!”

“And I suppose you think---”

“--yes I think you’re the right person. You think he would listen to me? No. And, Felipe is so far up Burga’s ass, we might not see him for another year. And I’m currently not on speaking terms with Diogo.”

Faustino smiled. “What did he do this time?”

Vanna’s nostrils flared. “I was sitting down in the hall, sewing up Felipe’s tunic--and you need to tell him that’s not my job--and he walked in front of me, and he well...he waited until he was directly in front of me fart! The disgusting man.”

Faustino laughed aloud. “Well, he only does that to ladies he likes. He always kept his mother well farted upon.”

Vanna stamped her foot. “No, no! I will not bear it. The next time he does I--I--”

“--will plug up the hole with your foot?” Alfonso offered from behind him. Vanna’s eyes narrowed and then cut to Faustino. He sighed.

“Alfonso….we need to talk….”

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Time to Hurt

I stood behind Mathlida and began to remove the pins from her hair. I smiled fondly, remembering her pinning my hair.

"What are you smiling at, girl?"

I looked up and met her eyes in the mirror. "Just thinking about the first time you pinned my hair."
by table

I slid another one out and tossed it on the table behind me.

She chuckled. "I remember that day. You were 12."

"I was so excited. I felt so grown up."

Mathlida sighed. "Oh, I can see it quite clearly. You were always in such a hurry to grow up, to catch up to your sisters. From horseback riding, to marriage....Maddie...if only you had waited, I am sure your father would have given his consent..."

I stiffened with a hand frozen in the air over Mathlidas head. "Please dont talk about him. I can’t...I can’t think about that now."

Mathlida eyed me in the mirror. "Alright, girl."

I continued in silence. My goodness, it was like she stuffed every pin she owned into her hair.....then it hit me. She stuffed every pin in her hair because she knew she would never have a chance to get more.

"Maddie" Mathlida’s voice was commanding.

I looked up and met her firm gaze in the mirror.

Suddenly I realized the roles were reversed and it scared me. I was no longer a little girl with her nursie, but a woman hoping against all odds that her nursie would nursie her own children. I bowed my head, trying to conceal the tears hiding behind my lashes

"Maddie, everything is going to be fine."

"Of course, I am sorry, Mathlida, I was just daydreaming." The lie came far too easily, but Mathlida wasn’t buying it.

"Daydreaming wont take these pins out of my hair, Maudrun. You must learn this because someday you’ll have a daughter of your own, whose hair you must care for."

I smiled at her. "No, one day you'll be taking the pins from my daughters hair and lecturing her on proper party etiquette."

Mathlida sighed. "I won't live forever, Maddie. One day you will treasure the time with your daughter, I promise you that." Her voice was far off, wistful.

I pulled the last pin out. "Do you miss them?"


"Your daughters. Your babies."

"You’re my baby too. They will be fine. They have husbands and babies of their own now."

I combed my fingers through her hair. "I have a husband too."

"Yes, but you needed me more than they did or do, love."

I carefully pulled out the comb Mathlida’s late husband gave her and ran it through her hair.

She sighed again and changed tactics. "What are we going to do with this place?"

"Make it into a home."

"Of course, but its going to take a lot of hard work, girl."

I shrugged. "It will keep my mind off....things.."

Mathlida cocked an eyebrow, but I looked away.

"Here, Mathlida, why don't you nap? You're looking a little pale."

"Oh Maddie, I shouldn't nap now. Anyway, I can't, look at that bed. It is absolutely covered in dust. It needs a good airing out."

I walked over to her bag and shook out her bedroll.

“Here Mathlida, lets do this.” I said as I struggled with the bed sheets under her expert eye. I flushed, they were putting up a better fight than I was.

Finally I yanked them off and rolled them up. Dust formed small clouds around us, causing coughing fits between the two of us. I threw the sheets down on the ground between coughing bouts, causing more dust to puff up around us.

“God!” I exclaimed.

Mathlida smiled feebly at me. I stared at her. The normally pleasantly plump woman was so much thinner than even last month. Her complexion was no longer rosy, and there were heavy bags under her eyes. Her hands shook, even when held still.

“Anyway,” I stammered as she raised her eyebrows, “lets pop the bedroll atop the bed. Then you can lay down without taking a dust bath.”

Mathlida sighed. “Oh Maddie I am fine. You can’t do this alone.”

“No, Mathlida you need rest more than I need help. Anyway, I have Vanna. Please, just get better, ok? The sick bucket is on the floor next to the bed.”

I stared into her blue eyes. She stared back. It was a test of wills. Usually Mathlida won, but not this time. This time she would get in bed if I had to force her and have Faustino hold her down. Though, I think that would have been to her pleasure.

She looked away first, so I took the opportunity to lead her to the bed.I helped Mathlida with her bedroll and tucked her in, just as she had always done for me.

I finished with a kiss on the forehead.

“Now,” I mimicked her. “You be a good girl and stay in bed! Call for me if you need me, okay?”

Mathlida laughed and I backed out of the room. I stumbled over a pair of boots on my way out. I The door closed with a snap behind me and I leaned against the wood. Mathlida was worse than she let on. She knew it and was putting up a farce for me. I would play ignorant if it made her feel better. If I lost Mathlida....well I didn't know what I would do.

We couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her. She kept saying it was the change, but did the change cause such dizziness she could barely walk?  If she didn’t get better soon, I’d have to send for a doctor. We couldn’t afford servants, much less a doctor….

“What?” I gasped, pulled out of my head by Vanna.

She stood in front of me, with her hands on her hips. “Are you okay?”

With all the effort I could muster, I pushed myself away from the door. “Yeah, I am fine, Vanna. Thank you, for all your help.”

“Yeah,” she said vaguely. “I am going to grab the laundry.”

“Need help?”

“No, but Burga needs her lunch.” She said and moved past me, into Mathlida’s room.

I nodded. Thank god for Vanna. She was worth her weight in gold. These past few weeks she and Diogo were my only source of help. Mathlida had been my only source of comfort and now she too was ill. Vanna was colder than ice and Diogo was as sarcastic as ever. At least I could take comfort in his sarcasm. Vannas coldness was not surprising, only troubling.

I turned and walked down the corridor, past the room that was to belong to Alfonso and me. Only it was just mine now. Alfonso still refused to talk to me, refused to be near me. His pride and masculinity were wounded. I didn't know how to get through to him, nor would he let me try. I padded down the stairs, towards the kitchens. Burga would need her soup.

The fire had gone out of the oven, so I bent over to start it again. Now the soup would be late. I stood up and dragged a chair over by the fire, the better to poke it into submission. The poker rubbed against the newly formed blisters on my hand. Blisters which would turn into callouses...My mother always said that a ladies hands determined her rank. Up until I married my husband, my hands were impeccably soft and smooth. Now they were raw and rough from riding without gloves and from working. I poked the fire again. I had never imagined my life would be this hard.

It took several more minutes of self loathing for the fire to finally flare up. I dragged the heavy pot over the fire, sloshing soup on my shoes and what was my best gown. I sat down and stirred the soup. How I hated soup. Mathlida forced it on me everytime i was ill. The mere thought of soup made my own stomach queasy. Luckily it was just for Burga and now Mathlida. Hopefully, Felipe and Alfonso would have better luck in the forest.

I was staring at the fire when Vanna walked into the kitchen. She crossed to the table and looked into the water bucket.

She stopped when she saw me.“Do we have enough water?”

I shook my head. “I don't think Alfonso brought any up this morning. Try asking Diogo to go.”

Vanna rolled her eyes and grabbed a bucket. “I’ll just go.”

“Be careful then,” I said evenly.

Vanna shrugged. “Don't burn the soup again.”

Shit, I had stopped stirring. Quickly I scraped the sides that had stuck to the sides of the pot. Burnt…. Only I could burn soup.

I ladled some into a small wooden bowl and set it on a tray along with a mug of ale and a hunk of cheese. I balanced it precariously on one arm as I pushed open the door to the kitchen. I nearly ran into Alfonso.

“Oh, sorry!” I said and gave him a half hearted smile.

He steadied the tray for me. He kept his face blank and said nothing.

I gnawed on my lip. “Did you catch anything?”

He shook his head and strode into the kitchen. I watched as he sat down at the table and pulled out his knife. As sinful as it was, I hoped he would just jam the knife into my heart. It would be less painful than the silent treatment.

I leaned on the doorframe, still grasping the tray.
“Yay, its poorly made soup again for supper.” I attempted a feeble joke but he didn’t even smile. Why did I bother to keep trying? Was I wanting to hurt myself?

“You have to talk to me sometime.I miss you. I love you.”  I pleaded. “I never meant to hurt you. I just---”

Alfonso stood and walked over to me. I smiled and straightened up, hoping that he would kiss me. Instead he merely shut the door in my face, leaving me alone in the darkened hallway with my face upturned for a phantom kiss. I pressed my forehead against the door and blinked back tears. How could he be so cruel to me. No matter what, I had already lost.

I swallowed the lump in my throat and made my way to the main hall. Felipe sat at the main table with the hem of his tunic in his hands.

“Goddamnit.” Felipe said. He looked up at me. “My tunic ripped.”

Really? His tunic ripped. Poor fucking baby. I looked down at my gown--it was torn and muddy and ragged. I wasn’t complaining, I who had dozens of pretty dresses, not even the ones for play had been this dilapidated. Felipe, on the other hand….I shook my head.

I sighed.” Well give it to Burga, she will be glad to have something to do.”

Felipe glared at me. “I can’t ask her to do that. She’s in a delicate condition!”

I raised my eyebrows. “You’re kidding right? You have got to be fucking joking. Her condition does not prevent her from picking up a fucking needle and pulling thread through your fucking tunic.”

Felipe just looked at me expectantly.

I stared at him, unbelieving.

“Fine,” I snapped. “I will do it.”

Felipe stood up and buckled his belt around his hips. “Just make sure you can’t tell you patched it.”

“Yeah, of course. No problem.”

I watched him walk into the kitchen and held back the urge to throw the mug at his smug head. What a fucker. What an unbelievable fucker.I stomped out of the hall and back upstairs to Burgas room.

“Good afternoon!” I said, a little too brightly as I opened her door. Luckily sweet, simple Burga didn't catch on. She smiled and sat up.

“Don’t get up!” I said with a waxy smile stuck upon my face. I wondered if I looked as grotesque as I felt.

“Good morning Maddie.” Her voice was weak, but stronger than it had been last month.

“How are you both?” I put the tray down on the table beside her bed. God I hoped she didn't need me to feed her too.

“Much better thank you,” she said.

I bobbed my head up and down, only half listening to her chattering until I heard her say “go downstairs.”


Burga looked taken aback. I squeezed my eyes shut, willing myself not to lose my temper.
I licked my lips and started again. “No, Vanna said that Ann told you to stay in bed until after your baby is born. I’m sorry, but I can’t let you get up.”

Burga’s smile faded. “But--”

“--I’m sorry, but I can’t allow you to get out of bed. Now eat your soup. I’m sure Felipe will be in here later…” To bitch at you about me, I added silently.

“Maddie, I just---”

“Just eat your fucking soup, Burga,” I said, snapping the door shut behind me.

In the main hall, I slouched on the moldy couch and sighed. Beans trotted over to me with her beloved ball in her mouth.

I groaned. “Not now Beans, please.”

She dropped the ball at my feet, her tail wagged vigorously.


Beans merely barked and pounded at the ball with her front legs. I ignored her. She danced around the ball with glee not giving me the peace I wanted. She pawed at my leg, breaking the last of my little patience.

“No! Bad dog! I dont want to play right now! Stop it!”

She cowered as I stood over her. “No is no! “

Her submission only made me angrier. I kicked the ball away with my foot. “Stop it! Just stop!”

And then I kicked her. Regret immediately flooded my body as she ran and hid under the table.

“Oh beans, baby I am so sorry.Come here?”

I crawled to her on my hands and knees. “Beans?”

But she wouldn't come. I sobbed.